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Offensive Line Burning Questions Heading Into 2016 Training Camp

Intro: We are one week away from the Colts heading to Anderson for the start of Training Camp. What are the “Burning Questions” along the offensive line this season?


INDIANAPOLIS –How quickly things can change.

With four draft picks spent on the offensive line in 2016, new position coach Joe Philbin has some different options to play with in Anderson.

Training Camp is now a week away so our "Burning Questions" series shifts towards the trenches.

Here's a look at the offensive line questions going into Training Camp:

  • What does Ryan Kelly's presence mean for the offensive line?

Chuck Pagano put it pretty clearly at this year's NFL Combine: the interior of the Colts' offensive line had to improve.

After no moves in free agency, that problem was all but solved on the first night of the 2016 NFL Draft.

With the No. 18 overall pick, the Colts took center Ryan Kelly from Alabama.

Centers rarely go so high in a draft, but when they do hear their name called in Round One it almost always leads to future Pro Bowls.

The Colts love the maturity and "big boy" nature that Kelly brings to the center position.

Andrew Luck has noticed those traits, too.

Luck finally has a stabling presence at center and that should secure things in the middle of that unit.

In past years, the center question was seemingly always up in the air going into Anderson. That's no longer the case.

STAT TO NOTE: When Anthony Castonzo went down with a sprained MCL last November, it was the first time he had missed a snap due to injury since his 2011 rookie season.**


  • Who will be competing for the right guard spot up in Anderson?

When the Colts' starters run out for the first practice in Anderson, four spots are all but known.

Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, left guard Jack Mewhort, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Joe Reitz were the men representing the first unit during the team's offseason program.

Right guard though is anyone's guess.

Hugh Thornton is the returning starter there. Thornton, who has dropped some weight heading into a contract year, had to sit out the entire offseason program due to injury. He's expected to be ready for the start of camp.

Denzelle Good didn't participate in the offseason program until the final two weeks. Good is a favorite of this staff after he made four starts as a rookie in 2015. Good is now making the switch to guard.

Former starting center Jonotthan Harrison took guard reps in the offseason program. Harrison received the bulk of the first-team work this spring at right guard.

Fifth-round pick Joe Haeg was a four-year starter at tackle in college, but he did spell Harrison at right guard during the offseason program.

Those four names will be in the mix to complete the quintet blocking for Andrew Luck this season.

STAT TO NOTE: Denzelle Good played the sixth most snaps of any rookie tackle last year, despite being the 25th tackle taken in the draft.

  • How much playing time will the rookie draft picks, not named Ryan Kelly, get in 2016?

We know Ryan Kelly is going to play every healthy snap he's available for in 2016.

After that, there's some unknown on what to expect from the other three rookie draft picks up front.

Third-rounder Le'Raven Clark was a reserve tackle during the offseason program. Remember, Clark is adjusting from a spread offense in college to having his hand in the ground much, much more in the NFL.

It's mentioned above, but Haeg did take some first-team reps in May and June. Still, with Thornton and Good back healthy in Anderson, Haeg will likely slide down the depth chart.

Seventh-round center Austin Blythe is fighting to back up Kelly.

As of now, reserve roles for Clark, Haeg and Blythe appear to be the probable routes for their rookie campaigns.

STAT TO NOTE: Over his last two years at Alabama (1,818 snaps), Ryan Kelly did not allow a sack.

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